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8 Facts You Should Know About the American with Disabilities Act (ADA)

By Bob Fitz, PLA, ASLA, Principal, Koontz-Bryant, P.C.

Fact #1

The ADA is a federal law and is not simply a building code or local ordinance.

Fact #2

Some common problems with parking facilities and access include:
• No van accessible spaces are provided in the parking area.
• The built-up curb ramp projects into the access aisle.
• The accessible parking space and access aisle are not level in all directions.
• There is no accessible route from accessible parking to an accessible entrance.
• Curb ramp that is located across a circulation path has steep unprotected side flares.
• Landing areas where ramps change direction (e.g., switchbacks or 90° turns) are too small.
• Parts of an accessible route with slopes that exceed 1:20 lack required features including handrails and edge protection.

Fact #3

When an existing parking lot that happens to be non-compliant with ADA parking regulations is re-surfaced, the lot must be re-striped to current standards (ex: number of van-accessible spaces, ratio, dimensions, etc.).

Fact #4

If the existing accessible parking spaces are not in compliance with the 1991 ADA Standards, you must construct or alter accessible parking spaces in compliance with the 2010 ADA Standards if it is readily achievable to do so.

Fact #5

The term “readily achievable” means "easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense."

Fact #6

Both tenants and landlords have obligations to ensure that facilities and operations are ADA compliant. The lease may indicate how barrier removal responsibilities are shared but it is important to remember that the lease does not relieve either tenant or landlord from their individual obligations to comply with the ADA.

Fact #7

The Internal Revenue Code allows a deduction of up to $15,000 per year for expenses associated with the removal of qualified architectural and transportation barriers and it also permits eligible small businesses to receive a tax credit.

Fact #8

The Department of Justice may file lawsuits to enforce the ADA and may also obtain civil penalties of up to $55,000 for the first violation and $110,000 for any subsequent violation.

Bottom Line

Consult with an expert in site design and make sure that your place of business or public accommodation (existing or proposed) is in compliance with the ADA for all the “right reasons”, otherwise it could be very costly for you for all the “wrong reasons.” For more information on ADA Compliance please contact Bob Fitz, Principal, Koontz-Bryant P.C. by email or at 804-200-1913.

[This information is general in nature and not intended to be comprehensive. Details may be obtained at www.ada.gov .]